Experienced Italy travelers only please. We are going to be in Sorrento/Amalfi/Pompeii, then Rome, then Cinque Terre, then Florence, then Tuscany. We will have a car in Tuscany only, train everywhere else. Where would you spend your hour????? :)
We've been to Italy many times, but I'm stumped by the premise of this question. Why would you have only one hour?
At the Accademia in Florence, looking at Michelangelo’s “David.”
I don't understand. Do you want to add an hour - what can you do in an hour? - to one of the places you are going to go, or do you want somewhere else to add in an hour? What about travel time?
I hope I am sufficiently experienced. I've been to all the places you list, sometimes several times.
Enjoying the view from Michelangelo plaza above Florence eating a gelato
For those puzzled, I take the OPs question to be sort of like one of those "if you only had one day left to live" type questions. In other words, what was the MOST compelling thing/place/activity you experienced in Italy, such that IF someone only had ONE HOUR in Italy, how would you suggest they spend that one hour...hypothetically.
I would sit on a patio high up in Positano overlooking the sea(again).....or take a water taxi into Venice and into some of the smaller canals (again). Approaching Volterra was pretty cool, and then looking out over the late-summer browning of the fields from up high in Volterra was so neat.
Spouse rattled of The Forum, The Colesseum, Pompeii.....and when reminded of how much he liked the water taxi, he jumped on that idea.
I have not been to the lakes district, so I would likely select sitting on a patio overlooking the beauty of one of the two lakes, just to experience something different.
It really, really is hard to narrow it down to JUST ONE hour
Wow, so many memorable towns; I’ll just answer with the first ones to come to mind!
If that hour was in the early morning on a warm day, I would spend that hour taking the passenger ferry, sitting outside, from Stresa up to Villa Taranto on Lake Maggiore, and walk through the beautiful green and flower gardens.
If that hour was during mid day, I would want to be in Siena, or Arezzo, or Montepulciano. Stopping into a church and walking some of the old center with a gelato in hand.
If that hour was in the evening, I would want to be in Venice - truly magical!
Sitting on a deck overlooking the Amalfi from Ravello.
Sitting on a deck overlooking Lake Como from Bellagio.
Sitting on a deck overlooking the sea on the Cinque Terre from Montarola.
Walking around Venice at 7am before everyone else is out. Walk from Rialto to St Marks. And enjoy how empty it is.
Watching the sun set from the promenade outside the city walls of Volterra. That was a truly magical hour.
How long will you have for all that? If it is anything less than 30 days, I'd modify your plans. If you are seeing the AC, CT may be redundant. In mid October the weather may be great or it may be iffy.
60 minutes of sipping Limoncello while at the laundromat in any city or village.
60 minutes of sipping Amarone while nibbling on a giant hunk of Reggiano on any balcony in any city or village.
In one of my favorite restaurants eating some of my favorite foods (albeit rushing it with only an hour). Italy is about more than just great sights. It's also about slowing down a bit and enjoying life.
I would spend my hour with a pizza and a glass of red wine in any lively piazza with a view of the magnificent local church.
Extending my luscious breakfast on the deck of my hotel on the Sorrento peninsula overlooking the Bay of Naples seeing clouds billowing up over Vesuvius while sipping Blood Orange juice just squeezed and nibbling sfogliatelle...
So many great answers so far.. I'm going to say Sistine Chapel, but with no crowds. Throw in St Peters, but again, no crowds...
I'm already having second thoughts!!! So many great things to do and see.
Most recent memory would be Venice. Enjoying the best view of the Grand Canal from Bar Foscarini by the Accademia Bridge. Nothing better than an hour break sipping an Aperol Spritz and a delicious pizza!
Walking around Piazza Navona while eating gelato from Frigidarium (from nearby).
A tie between strolling around Venice after dark and watching the sunset from the steps in front of San Miniato in Florence.
Early morning walk in the February chill along the Tiber River in Roma, then doubling back to my favorite caffe spot for a quick espresso & a hearty buongiorno to the barrister, then around the corner to Roscioli's Forno bakery for a cornetto or some other daily pastry.
Did this routine maybe 5 days straight last trip, so I know it takes about an hour!
The Sistine chapel, crowds or not
in Bellagio waterfront with a glass of wine but if it has to be within your itinerary then Florence at a roof top bar overlooking the Arno river with of course a glass of wine OR in Siena if that's part of your "Tuscany" in the square about dusk with of course a glass of wine.
I’d spend it in Sorrento. My favorite place of all in Italy.
Hanging on the edge of the infinity pool looking down over Minori then ordering a seafood salad and a Pinot Grigio at the Hotel Caruso pool in Ravello.
Watching the swans & ducks in Varenna while having some gelato. Preferably at sunset.
Looking at Daphne and Apollo by Bernini at the Borghese Villa. This is assuming I'm mysteriously beamed in and out of the Borghese villa.
In Florence, at San Miniato al Monte after an espresso at the nearby bar. In Tuscany, enjoying a glass of wine and antipasto at a hilltop restaurant.
Enjoying an Aperol Spritz while overlooking the water in either Galipoli, Otranto, Varenna, Orta San Giulio, Stresa, Polignano al Mare or Taormina.
Sitting on the terrace of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum on the Grand Canal in Venice with a chilled bottle of Prosecco!
Sicily is not on your agenda, but if you were there, drive to the top of Monte Pellegrino (outside of Palermo) and enjoy the view.
That's an impossible question of course. So many answers, as I've been to Italy a bunch of times. On my first trip, we took a boat from Positano around Capri (before letting us off on Capri). In the morning sunlight ahead of the boat, flying fish jumped out of the water. On Capri, we took the chair lift up to the Roman villa, and we could almost pick the cherries off the trees our feet skimmed over. The path from the town to our B&B took us under lemon groves. That was 25 years ago, and since then when people say "go to your happy place," that's what I think of . . .
On my last trip, we ended in Lucca where my husband is from, and cycling the walls, I thought "this is still my very favourite thing to do in Italy." So even thought there are more monumental things to do by the score, cycling the walls of Lucca on a sunny afternoon is still the best of Italy to me.
If you could spend only 1 hour in Italy
Gondola ride in Venice, in the evening
Looking out from the water side of the cemetery high on the hillside above Vernazza at dusk, looking down at the town and out to sea, then turning around to see the lights come on on the tombs.